The Pond

The pond sits lazy
on its bed all summer reflecting heat back
at the sky. Three doors down the street
is an empty house whose owner
was a mystery. The pair of Black-necked Stilts
returned this week together
with a juvenile still learning
water’s ways. The old lady’s son got into
the kind of trouble only
police cars know. A Greater Yellowlegs took off
and displayed the white on its tail
all the way across
the sun’s cool ripples. First it was
a dry waller’s truck parked in the driveway
and later the painter’s a few days
before the notices were posted on the door
to stop further work. The small grebe
has a mate this year
and they take turns disappearing and resurfacing.
The son never came back. This time of year
the Wigeons arrive, more Coots, Ruddy Ducks
and Buffleheads. The neighbors take turns
reading what is posted and
speculating on what happened. A Black Phoebe
picks insects from the light
and perches on a fencepost with a view
of winter floating gently
on the day’s reflections. There’s work
to be done before anyone
can move back in, the kind requiring
a shaman to dispel the curse of ill health and
set a fire for arrest warrants. He will lead
the sky in prayer. He will show
the water birds the safest
place to land.



David Chorlton
Photo Nick Victor

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